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Unless you're Paul Pierce, three names are usually shuffled around when discussing the greatest player in NBA history—Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan. What usually matters when trying to nail down the true GOAT is the order in which these names are listed. During an appearance on the All the Smoke podcast, Vince Carter gave his personal ranking of the three.
"I gotta go with MJ," Carter said around the clip's three-minute mark when asked to put the trio in order. He went on to explain that his opinion is based on their winning percentages in the NBA Finals.
"How many times Kobe go to the Finals? Seven? And he got five of them things," Carter continued after establishing that Jordan went 6-0 in the Finals. "People always talk about winning percentage. Well, that's the time to talk about winning percentage."
Once he put the GOATs in order of Jordan, Kobe, and LeBron, Carter questioned what LBJ would have to accomplish to jump ahead of Bean and MJ.
"If he gets to the Finals again. He's just going to get more credit," Carter said. "Now, he's gotten to the Finals 10 times."
He also agreed with hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson that if 'Bron is able to bring L.A. another championship—which would give him four rings with three franchises—then he'd have a lane to bypass Bryant in the discussion. If he's able to win two championships with the Lakers before his career ends, then the discussion opens for him to be considered better than Michael Jordan.
Despite throwing around their opinions, Carter does understand this conversation isn't fair. Although LeBron is in year 17, he was playing at an MVP level before the season came to a halt. This gives the impression that James still has a few years left in the tank, setting the stage for him to end his career as the NBA's leading scorer while possibly securing another ring. As a result, Carter wants to compare these three iconic careers after they've all walked away from the game.
"Let's just wait and see," Carter said. "When it's all said and done, then it's fair to have a real debate."
Watch the full clip of Carter's discussion with All the Smoke above.